Chapter Two – Tailgater

I sipped my coffee slowly, I had to admit, I was wishing Liam was here. How am I going to get these 'refugees' to the next supply station without going crazy?! Mummy rubbed against my legs with a soft 'meow'. I picked her up and scratched her head and neck while I finished my coffee, she responded with a contented purr.

Just as I was starting to feel better, a voice screeched through the intercom, "Captain! You're wanted in the medic room!" I could suddenly feel a headache coming on.

I walked into the medic room, to be greeted by an exhausted-looking doctor or nurse, I wasn't sure which. She looked at me with a half-smile, "they all seem perfectly healthy to me!"

"Are you sure?" I whispered just loud enough for her to hear, while I glared at the red-head girl.

"Amy Calist, or Shalis Dahst – whichever you like to call her - is perfectly healthy also, unfortunately. Although she has apparently traveled through 270 years of time, and that makes her about 288. So she really is doing quite well don't you think?!" the poor doctor had obviously been talked into a deep apathy.

"Can't we sedate her?" I suggested - our voices still lowered.

"I would love to, but our medical supplies are quite limited – so what we have we are best to keep in case we really need it."

I tried to smile as I addressed the travelers. I couldn't for the life of me imagine why anyone, living on a perfectly healthy earth, would want to come through to a time when earth was practically uninhabitable. But I guess they wouldn't have known that then – would they? I was still trying to get my head around the whole thing, when I heard another intercom screech. "Needed on the bridge, Captain Brooks!"

For the first time ever I suddenly loved that intercom system.

"Captain…," it was Jared. "We weren't expecting any help on this mission were we?"

I followed his gaze onto the viewfinder. We were definitely being followed. But it didn't seem to be a pirate ship, or the IPC.

I opened a channel and requested a response. I didn't really want to shoot now, ask questions later. And besides, I knew the firepower on this ship was not going to win us any battles in a hurry.

"You have something that belongs to me, and I want it," it was an icy, threatening tone, a man's but that was all I could tell.

"I seriously doubt that!" I protested. Unless this was a new pirate recruit I couldn't possibly imagine what we might have that they would want. It was obviously some mistake – I knew I should have taken the Sparrow!

"A teenage red-head, she is no threat to you currently, but I promise you – if you don't hand her over – she will be!"

I cursed. I was going to kill her. That annoying little…….! I came half way across the galaxy to 'rescue' her, and now I get threatened for doing it!

I told Jared to inform him that we could come to some sort of trade or fair agreement. I was way too angry to be doing any negotiating. But I wasn't coming all this way and returning empty-handed!

I stormed back down to the medic room, where the doctor looked like she was about to kill me if I didn't take these passengers off her hands soon.

"You have a lot of explaining to do young lady!" I spat at her. I nearly hit her across the face too, but Kyle grabbed my hand before I had the chance.

"That's probably not a good idea," his voice sounded like he was more worried about me than her.

"There is some guy, threatening ME, the CAPTAIN of this ship – if I don't give him you! I have come half way across the galaxy to rescue you – so you better give me a DAMN good reason not to trade you for something that is actually USEFUL to me!"

For the first time since she stepped aboard the ship, her happy demeanor changed. She cowered like a small puppy and began to plead and beg with me. She took my hand and held it as she entreated me not to hand her over.

I pulled away uncomfortably, ok now I really did need Liam.